What can you complain about

The Ombudsman processes complaints about authorities’ decisions and case processing.

The Ombudsman can process complaints about public authorities, such as:

  • municipalities and regions
  • state authorities such as ministries and agencies/departments
  • boards and councils.

Complaints can be about

  • a decision made by an authority
  • an authority’s treatment of a citizen or processing of a case
  • a missing reply from an authority or the dragging on of a case (however, the complainant must first send a reminder to the authority).

Everyone can complain

  • Children and young people under 18 can complain.
  • Foreign nationals and Danish nationals living abroad can complain.

It is free of charge to complain.

You are not entitled to have your complaint investigated.

Processing of the complaint

You can complain on behalf of someone else

You can complain about an authority even if you do not have a case with the authority.

You can also complain on behalf of another person. It is normally required that you have a power of attorney (or parental custody of the person on whose behalf you are complaining).

Complain for someone else

Formal requirements

Complaint options must have been used

The Ombudsman can only process a complaint if all other complaint options have been used. This means when the highest authority you can complain to has made a decision.

Authorities must write in their decisions if it is possible to complain to another administrative authority. This is typically stated at the end of the letter.

You cannot have your complaint processed by the Ombudsman and an authority at the same time

If it is possible to complain to one or more authorities, you must do so first and then wait for the authority’s reply before complaining to the Ombudsman.

Authorities must write in their decisions if it is possible to complain to another administrative authority. This is typically stated at the end of the letter.

If the complaint option has not been used, we either ask the citizen to do so or we forward the complaint to the relevant authority.

Complain within one year

You can complain to the Ombudsman within one year after the decision or grievance you wish to complain about. The deadline is calculated from the time when the complainant has received the highest complaint body’s decision. This normally applies even if the complainant has written to the authority again (for instance requesting that the case be reopened).

Complaint about case processing time

If you are complaining about an authority’s case processing time, you do not need to wait until the authority makes a decision. But you must have used any possibility of complaining to other authorities.

The Ombudsman CANNOT investigate complaints about…

  • judgments/sentences and courts of justice, meaning cases or issues that are being processed by the courts or are expected to be brought before the courts
  • judges
  • Parliament and acts adopted by Parliament
  • goods, shops and services
  • decisions dated more than one year ago
  • matters that took place more than one year ago
  • certain dispute boards and boards of appeal (for instance boundary lines between properties, rent control boards, the Consumer Complaints Board, the Disciplinary Board of the Danish Bar and Law Society, the Telecommunications Complaint Board, the Danish Financial Complaint Board, the Danish Insurance Complaints Board and the complaints board for sale and purchase of real estate).

The scope of the Ombudsman’s work is described in the Ombudsman Act.